Sunday, December 31, 2006

My cab driver home tonight was new, which always involves a lot of Abbot-and-Costelloing about just which street named -lake I actually live on.

A friend of mine has been out of town for three months, and as she has low-key plans for tomorrow she wanted a night out tonight. What she got was something else entirely, although at least we were out. A whole impromptu comedy routine about her drink at the bar? Check. Mid-nineties alternative favorites with sushi? Also check. (Seriously, I haven't heard a Filter song in forever.) If nothing else, I guess she remembered what she'd been missing.

Happy new year, internet! I spent most of 2006 going to see about nine million bands and dating boys who were mostly not nearly nice enough to me. Next year I intend to do more of the former and less of the latter.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

During the last few months of Mark's life the hospital staff relaxed their rules on visiting hours, allowing us to come and go as we pleased. His body had stopped responding to the drug cocktail a couple of months before that and his skin had started to break down, opening small wounds that wept softly into a crazy quilt of bandages. I'd skip school to spend afternoons in the narrow room, listening to his sandpaper breathing scored by all of the beeping machines. When he was awake I would push aside all the tubes and wires and climb into the bed with him, and we'd whisper stories about the people we knew. I was nearly as thin as he was then, worn transparent with the weight of my own secrets, and unprepared to deal with the heaviness of both mourning and carrying on with life. Often, leaving the room, I'd meet his boyfriend Paul huddled in the hallway, trying to work up the courage to enter.

I have recently realized that I'm now about the same age that Mark was when he was wasting away and fighting to get his T cell count back up. It hadn't ever occurred to me before, both because at the time those seven or eight years that he had on me seemed to be vast expanses of experience and because in my head he has always been older than me. And here I am at the end of this year that has been a struggle each step of the way, but still the easiest yet of all the years he's been absent for, and all of a sudden I miss my friend. He would have loved to have been here for this endeavor.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Not a lot has been going on over here the last couple of days, and to fill the time I've been cooking. The best part about all the culinary adventures is leaving my apartment for a few minutes and coming back inside--inside is warm and smells like tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar and rosemary and thick creamy soup. Getting the dishwasher fixed was one of the smartest things I've done lately.

The rest of the time has been spent curled up between lines of Fitzgerald or camped out on the couch with Catherine Deneuve. It's been the next best thing to a vacation, honestly.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It is disconcerting to mount an expedition in search of trolls only to find under each bridge little but a collection of clapped-out mattresses and carburetors. Except you have heard that there are trolls and so even though there's a small voice behind your left eye that keeps pointing out trashcan fires in the place of ogres, you look. You look under each damp tissue and through the eye of every broken needle and though you never do find the trolls you were looking for--the big hairy ones with the oversized hands and fewer teeth than they have spaces--you find something. And that's always the moment when you remember that something was really all you needed.

If I were a smarter girl I'd take off for a while to someplace with a lot of windy coastline and the sort of people that can pass a whole day talking about their labradors.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas, boys and girls.

I'll be headed over to Steph and Ryan's tonight to eat ham, play games, watch movies, get drunk, and open presents. Once we've dealt with our hangovers tomorrow afternoon we're probably going to meet up with a friend of mine for a movie and fried macaroni and cheese wedges at the 5 Point. (Since Steph and Ryan are both funnier and more even tempered than my actual family, we're going to call this one a win for me.)

I never did get around to doing any baking this Christmas, and for that I apologize. I've been feeling a little too much like a Mark Ryden painting for the past few weeks to get into the spirit, but the fact remains that for the first time in about thirteen years I didn't make my traditional fudge and Christmas cookies, and I feel like a slacker. So those of you that have been perhaps waiting for packages of deliciousness to come to you in the mail should, um, stop.

I hope your Christmases are as much fun as mine is going to be, because I think you deserve all the happiness you can get.

Friday, December 22, 2006

I waited for the bus last night, reading in the dim glow from the streetlights. The power lines above me collected flecks of the misty rain and then loosed their supply of drops onto my book or the too-long sleeves of my soft pink sweater. As I stood there a man walked past, bald and with no hat, in a suit and a red striped tie. A few feet past me he stopped and turned back, said, "Excuse me..." and then pulled a quarter out of my ear. He handed the quarter to me and continued down the street, and I dropped the quarter in the shrubbery. Ear quarters, even conceptual ear quarters, kind of freak me out.

A little while ago I was rifling through a book, trying to find that Baudelaire poem where he compares a lady to roadkill (which, you know, needles and haystacks and all, but my copy of Les Fleurs is entirely in French and I'm just not that patient) and I came across lines from a Beckian Fritz Goldberg poem scribbled on part of a sheet of graph paper: "Each time we fall out of love we/ say it wasn't really love at all as if/ landing, a plane would say no, not/ actual sky."
So then there's that.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I've still never managed to conjure up a concrete memory of Christmas from before the boys were born, which makes a certain amount of sense because Christmas has never been my holiday and the boys were always the best part of it. It's a little sad to miss them this year, now that they're both old enough that they're becoming actual people.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I can feel the look from across the room, but I am afraid that if I look up and catch those eyes that I might burst into flames. So instead I feel the glance like a thumb along the line of my stubborn jaw, like the moment when lips part and you realize that you have just been kissed.

And there are certain places that I simply cannot visit because they are dark and full of monsters. Those are the stairs where I stop halfway down and sit until the desire to explore goes away. In the evenings I walk home from work, dawdling through the blueblack streets, enjoying how every window is a perfect vignette.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Downtown was very, very cold today, and I huddled under the bus stop with a whole bunch of people that were heavily laden with packages. I refused to see the cold wind as a nuisance; in fact, I currently refuse to see everything as anything but charmed. I'm pretty lucky to be me sometimes.

I'm starting to tally my accounts for the year, to figure out how many steps I've gone backward for each one I've gone forward. The year is almost over and I don't know if I've accomplished much, but I have had an awfully good time.

You just watch out for me, because when you're not looking I'm going to throw an impromptu dance party in your parking space. I'm looking for fireflies in your backyard, Seattle, and I'm not going to stop until I find them.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Man, I have been all over the damn place lately. I've been at the Crocodile watching cute boys play miscellaneous instruments. I've been out drinking with the Metbloggers. Last night I got all dressed up to have fancy drinks and see goofy musical theatre with my lady friends. Today I went to space and tomorrow I'll be at Steph's. I am tired.

Sometime this week I fully intend to not answer my telephone and instead camp out on the couch with Humphrey Bogart. All of this being social goes against my nature and I have to make myself leave my cozy apartment and my books most of the time, but there's so much interesting stuff happening.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

You know, I really should have bought a flashlight before this whole windstorm thing started.
For the first half of my (quick) trip to Boston in the spring I was alone, wandering. Everyone there looked familiar and so instead of feeling lonesome in a new city it was all a lot more like hanging out with a friend I have known long enough that speaking isn't necessary. It was all very comfortable, and were I less tired of running I would perhaps have moved there, changed my name, and bought a hermit crab named Fritz.

I grew up at band practice, the child of very young musicians, and part of the reason I go to see so many bands is because I am comfortable at shows.

What I am is tired, tired of wanting to go somewhere else and start something new. I took a clipping off one of my plants at the office and have been watching it slowly grow roots over the past couple of weeks, and I have found myself jealous of the biological imperative that forces plants to either grow roots or die. And jealous of plants is no way to be, so maybe next I'll work on roots myself.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I have been all scrunched up like a samantha-in-the-box lately, just completely incapable of normal human interaction. This cough that I picked up somewhere simply won't go away, so my voice has tended to cut out in the middle of a word or become high and reedy midsentence. Like I'm actually a samantha hologram and the real samantha is phoning it in from someplace better.

What I'm trying to say is that if I have recently looked at you as though you were made of lettuce and were requesting that I eat you, well, what was really happening is that I was trying to remember how to string together the letters to make the words to reply to you, only my brain was busy contemplating its navel. It's not you, it's me. Honest. (I find lettuce to be one of the most abhorrent substances on the planet, to clarify, and yes my brain does have a navel. Don't judge.)

But on the way home today my iPod spontaneously decided to play the wonderful Tragically Hip song "Scared" twice in a row, and I have decided to take this as a sign of better things to come. You know, eventually.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Is there anything better than an evening of free ballet and delicious tapas with the French/Harrison household? (I volunteer for the PNB sometimes, which means I get to see the shows for free.)

No, I don't think that there is.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dear internet,

I don't know if you noticed, but today is the third birthday of this website.

Three years ago I probably would have laughed at you for suggesting that I'd still be doing this so steadily three years later, because I'd have figured that by now I would have gotten bored and gone off to something else--basket weaving or crime fighting or whatever. That's what I do with everything else, after all. Which just goes to show that we should never underestimate the staying power of narcissism, but the fact is that I have never been very good at writing endings, so I imagine that as long as I'm incapable of creating a conclusion I'll probably just have to keep going.

Sorry about that.

In the past seven hundred and something posts I've cobbled together something over 200,000 words, and I honestly have little to say about that. I read a short essay by Norman Mailer once--all the Mailer I can stand--about a friend of his who would write and rewrite constantly even though the whole act was anguish for him. And when Mailer asked him why he did it, why he continued to write even though it caused him such pain, the friend said, "The only time I know the truth is when it reveals itself at the point of my pen." I have come to realize recently that the purpose the Kissing Booth serves for me is to understand just how I am doing, to resolve and solidify whatever it is that I'm feeling. I can't say for sure whether that is good or bad, whether anything useful has come out of this experience, but I feel that I have been honest. And honesty was, originally, the point.

When I came home tonight a giant urban raccoon and I scared the heck out of each other, and then I walked into my apartment and noticed that something had changed. Eventually I figured out that the trees right off of my balcony that have been ever so slowly obscuring my view for the last few years have been lopped off. I'd gotten so used to squinting at the city through the branches that the unobstructed look at downtown and Queen Anne is astonishing. I had forgotten how the city twinkles. It reminds me how much has changed since I came here, and how much I've changed.

I don't know who most of you are, internet, but thanks for coming along on the adventure with me.



Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I rarely touch anyone with an exposed palm, instinctively closing my fingers and brushing people with the tougher outsides of my knuckles. I don't trust you with any of my softer spots, needing to avoid the way I sometimes hurt, not in my heart but somewhere to the left, and deeper.

And I never manage to line the facts up until after the test is over, going through the major exams on instinct rather than consideration, noting the lighter skin of your forearms but never recognizing their vulnerability. It is how I unconsciously have held you captive, like the man who kept women to torture in a pit he dug in his basement, only to tell the judge when caught that they had come with the house, as though he honestly thought a pit full of women was what his real estate agent had meant by "bonus room."

I notice my curled-under fingers at intervals over the years, remembering the day my father asked why I never hugged him back when he hugged me. I don't think we get to pick the way we protect ourselves, only reacting in whatever way our little brains have decided is the safest.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Not purchased: a hat.

Purchased: a pillow for the new couch, which should arrive in about two weeks. Clearly my fiscal priorities are out of order, although I'm currently refusing to believe that I've made it to a point in my life where I'm using the words "fiscal" and "priorities" in that order and meaning it. Although I did get a Christmas present for the prettiest Steph in town while I was out, so something productive happened.

I think it might be time for me to explore my fondness for textiles with airplanes dropping things other than bombs, as aside from the new pillow I also own a shirt with one dropping cupcakes, and I'm always considering one dropping televisions. I'm also currently very fond of tentacled sea creatures, especially on jewelery and skirts. If I could find a skirt with the giant squid attacking the Nautilus on it, my wardrobe would be momentarily complete. Please keep up, fashion; you're lagging behind.

I'm still a bit sick, so I'm at home tonight drinking tomato soup out of a Yellow Submarine mug, because creamy soups are not for spoons. The dishes are mostly done and I think I'll be watching a movie about a French drag queen here shortly. I need to do something about all of the things that I have--buy them more shelves or set them on fire or something. It's getting kind of cluttered in here.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Postmodern Christmas Tree 2006 is completed. Materials: three storage containers, a cooler, a hatbox, and my fencing foil, as well as the original gasparilla beads and all the usual ornaments.

As always, the music was The Arrogant Worms album "X-mas Turkey", with a little BOAT at the end.

2005, 2004 (with the story), and 2002, the orginal.